Last night I took my first ride on Cruizer since the fall. It started out with a good twenty minutes of lunging, and I must say, he is moving better than I think he ever has. Strong driving hock and flat front leg. He lunged super quietly, with his head almost too low, but I kept going anyway because he tends to act like an angel on the lunge and then as soon as I'm on he turns into a nut. I only rode for about twenty minutes. mostly walking and jogging. A little posting trot, but he started getting nervous, and since it was our first ride in awhile and there was a lot of traffic in the arena, I decided to walk him for awhile and call it a day. His feet are looking REALLY good. I couldn't feel any bad steps or tenderness in his movement when we were trotting either. I'm glad his feet are adjusting.
Also to clarify, I'm not a barefoot nazi, and I'm not anti-shoe. I am pro-barefoot, only because its generally the healthiest option, BUT there are some horses who should be in shoes. If Cruizer becomes uncomfortable barefoot and can't work without shoes on, then we will put the shoes back on. I don't think that's going to be the case though. I wanted him to go barefoot because after 4+ years of shoes without any "rest" from shoes his hoof wall was crumbling and his feet looked absolutely terrible..like they were falling off. His hoof wasn't strong enough to hold a shoe, so the farrier suggested toe clips. The toe clips were the final straw, and Cruizer's feet absolutely fell apart. That's when I started researching barefoot horses, and decided I wanted to give it a shot. It's been a few months now without shoes, and while there was definitely a "transition" period where he was very sore and not rideable, his feet look ten million times better now. Their color is better, the frog shed and is growing back in bigger and healthier, his soles are getting stronger, and his hoof wall isn't falling apart or cracking.
I am planning to ride Cruizer again today... and do showmanship because we need to confirm his pull-turn. He's getting better at it, but still doesn't really nail it. He's really smart though, so he'll get the hang of it.